NATION

Bail Application To Manage Church Refused

A pastor facing 10 charges of sexually-related crimes was refused a bail variation application at the High Court in Suva to travel to Taveuni to manage church meetings. Justice Salesi
28 Jun 2016 09:00
Bail Application To Manage Church Refused

A pastor facing 10 charges of sexually-related crimes was refused a bail variation application at the High Court in Suva to travel to Taveuni to manage church meetings.

Justice Salesi Temo denied the application by 54-year-old Jone Cokanauto, who is facing six charges of rape and four charges of indecent assault. Cokanauto was told to give a written reason by July 18.

Defence lawyer Simi Valetabua told the court that his client would like to travel to Taveuni to a meeting with various stakeholders who would be managing the church business in Cokanauto’s absence.

The prosecution objected to the bail variation application as there was a high chance of interference in the matter as the complainant and a few witnesses are from Taveuni.

Counts one, two and three of the charges involved the same complainant who resides in Taveuni and counts one, three and five of the charges allegedly occurred in Taveuni.

Cakanauto, who was already on bail, wanted the court’s approval as he is forbidden from travelling to Taveuni.

Mr Valetabua told the court that his client was assigned for spiritual teachings, pastoral care and duties to conduct in Taveuni.

The prosecution objected saying that the allegations had risen from spiritual teachings, pastoral cares and duties carried out by the pastor.

“A church is supposed to be an inclusive institution where your enemies can come and listen to the word of God,” this comment was made by Justice Temo after Mr Valetabua told the court that the complainant was no longer allowed in the church.

Justice Temo told the accused that he could use a mobile phone and Skype to provide input for meetings in Taveuni.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback: jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

Subscribe to E-Edition
pacific island top up
Air Nuigini
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: